In order to make a pretend train for your toddler to play with, you will need three small boxes. Animal crackers, childrens’ shoe boxes or sandwich bag boxes work well for the box cars of the train. You’ll also need a stretch of ribbon, a hole puncher, and whatever materials your toddler will decorate the train with. Cut the tops off of your three boxes so that they are open from the ceiling. This way your toddler can put “freight” inside like small snacks or small figurines. Next, cut six circles out of construction paper and glue two per box to the bottom, or closed side of the train to make wheels. Last, punch holes through the open, short edges of the boxes to loop the box cars together. Tie at one end, leaving a leash for your toddler to pull the train. Last, let your toddler decorate by painting, coloring or gluing shapes of construction paper to the sides of each box car.
As early as two, toddlers like to feel like they are an important part of the family. Even though your toddler is too small to take on most chores around the house, there are simple tasks that you can grant to your tot that will help them feel as though they are contributing to the family. For example, you can give your toddler the responsibility of turning off a light switch each day before bed. Teach your toddler how to turn the television on. When the family gathers together to watch television, let your toddler turn on the television. Praise your toddler for completing these tasks to make them feel important. After a meal, teach your child how to throw away a napkin in the trash, then allow your child to collect all the napkins and throw them in the trash. By helping in small ways, your toddler feels largely significant. They will feel that you gave them these jobs because you are confident in them.
Sometimes, your child just needs some one-on-one time with a single parent at a time. The attention can lead to newfound connection with your child. The quality time encourages the development of communication between parent and tot. It’s a good idea to schedule a lunch date to your local fast food restaurant or a picnic with one parent at a time. Toddlers get used to spending more time with one parent than the other. Dates like this can help shift that balance giving your child a chance to get to know both parents equally.
We don’t often encourage websites as top toddler learning activities on our blog. But Sprout Online is just too likeable and educational not to recommend for toddlers to learn how to use computers. Sprout Online is a castoff from the programming on PBS (Public Broadcasting Systems). Sprout TV is home to such programs like Sesame Street, and Barney & Friends. The website has hundreds of computer games that range from Easy to Advanced skill sets. You can sit your toddler on your lap and help them maneuver the mouse to play these easy, colorful, basic Sprout games on the web entirely free and accessible to anyone with a computer. The website is www.sproutonline.com
Aside from just plain fun, playing with play dough strengthens little fingers and wrists, engages kids’ imaginations, and provides an outlet for stress or frustration by squeezing the dough. As with most learning toys, there is an emphasis on creative freedom. There really is no right or wrong way to play with play dough. Kids can make recognizable shapes, space ships, people, anything that comes to mind. If you don’t want to go out and buy brand name play dough, there are multiple, safe recipes online that you can follow that create homemade play dough out of standard household condiments. We’ve included 2, easy play dough recipes for your convenience.
MIX (edible play dough-though try to avoid eating)
1 cup of flour
1 cup of boiling water
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
MIX (Non-edible play dough. Do not eat)
2 cups of baking soda
1 1/2 cup of water
1 cup of corn starch
Optional food coloring
There’s no specific age to wean your baby off a pacifier, although the toddler years seem ideal. Your toddler will, invariably, throw a tantrum at the most inopportune time in a retail store or restaurant demanding to have the pacifier that you left at home. Toddlers rely on their pacifier to sooth themselves when they feel frustrated, fearful or uncomfortable. There are simple tools you can try to wean them of the pacifier. First, try comforting your toddler first. Scoop him or her up on your lap and try to change the subject. Second, offer your toddler an activity to occupy them like a toy to snuggle or an interactive toy that your toddler can use to “self-soothe”. Third, you can try to bargain with your toddler to trade his or her pacifier for a new toy or a treat. If you aren’t successfully with any of these methods, it’s possible your toddler just needs a few more months with their pacifier. Your toddler will eventually grow out of the pacifier phase regardless of whether you wean them or not.
Your toddler won’t share their toys. Your toddler plays rough; sometimes hits other kids or adults. You start to think your child will invariably become a criminal as an adult.
Relax. Your toddler will not become a criminal. In toddlerhood, kids are still learning the balance between risk and challenge. Behaviors like not sharing, or shoving others, are sometimes ‘experiments’ your toddler uses to push the envelope. Alternatively, these behaviors can be signs of inward frustration or anger that your toddler simply has not learned how to express in other ways yet.
That said, as caregiver it is important to address the behavior immediately. Be firm and explain why that behavior is not tolerated. Monitor your toddler’s interactions and intervene at aggressive behavior.
Your toddler will usually grow out of this phase around age 4 when the concept of sharing is more readily understood.
A common complaint among parents with small children is that “painting” to kids means “painting the walls”, the carpet, the fridge…painting anything but paper!
Watercolor paints offer an easy solution to prevent stains in or around your home. You can allow your kids to use watercolor paint because it washes easily off of any surface. Some watercolor kits are also marked safe if swallowed.
When the watercolor paints are diluted, they produce faint, light hues that do not stain surfaces. Your little Picasso will probably mix the individual water colors together resulting in a pallet of the same, brown color. But water color kits only cost around $ .97 at any local general store, so stock up and unleash imaginations through safe, washable watercolor paint kits.
One of the most important influence that we can have on our kids is how we nature them. The establishment of a positive environment that will nature their abilities is one of that most important things that we can do to help them develop. Sure we can run out and buy special toys, music and games to stimulate their development but you have to remember that it is more important to read to them every day to encourage the development of their brain. Research has shown that children who are read to by their parents have a larger vocabulary than other children. Reading also provides them with new perspectives about the world. It also encourages them to read on their own. Just read and continue to read to your kids. Its very important in their development.
As our kids get older, the need to find them toys that actually teaches them something or that they can learn from is a daily challenge. We have all heard the saying that learning games are boring. We are competing the television, video games, music, and all the new attractions and distractions that all parents face. So lets not kid ourselves. Finding kids learning games that your kids actually enjoy is not easy but it is worth the time and effort. Any time we can secretly get our kids to do something that will also teach them something is a huge plus. In the days to come we will give you ideas and ways to get those games in front of your kids that will keep their attention.